Thursday, May 31, 2007

Humana Humana Noa Noa

On my way to my meeting with my new boss, I had twenty minutes to kill so popped into a boutique on Shad Thames.

Big Mistake.

Tried this on and am now in love.

Yellow Maxi dress (viscose georgette lined in cotton) £65.00, Noa Noa

However, can't decide if it loves me. I will have to take the sister in hand to a trying-on session to determine if an empire waist yellow dress is actually the way forward for me.

In its defence, the straps were bra-hideable wide and comfortable, the covered buttons kept my modest and the neckline was suitably high so I felt secure, but not like a nun, the empire line actually snugged to my midriff and the length grazed the top of my instep.

It's still, however, yellow.

Friday, May 25, 2007

At the risk of inciting rancour...

This struck a chord with me. I can't help but feel that the McCann's actions since their child's disappearance have been solely to manipulatethe press into a frenzy which, in the absence of evidence, suspects or leads, could possibly have hampered the tenuous case there anyway.

Of course, I wouldn't wish the not knowing or the grief on anyone, but from the outside, it all feels a bit orchestrated.

My thoughts are with them and I hope the media find some good news to replace the non-news soon.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Revelations Chapter One Vs 1-7

I have been tagged! Very exciting... I am struggling to come up with seven more to further the previous five....

Each person tagged gives seven random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write on their blog seven facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and need to read your blog.

  1. I am tall, or as once put, 'offensively long': 5ft 11inches. This means that I expose my midriff and my ankles far more than I would like and I tend to be very intimidated by women taller than me. Thankfully, their number is not vast.
  2. My drink of choice is Dry Martini and Lemonade: not particularly rock n roll, but I find it is just the right balance between fizzy pop and alcohol and the lightweight in me stands a little bit more of a chance.
  3. I was hit by a car that I stepped out in front of at the age of 13. Thankfully, I got away with dented pride and a very badly sprained ankle. The amusing result of this is that I have a corkscrew kick when breaststroking and tend to go around in circles when I swim lengths.
  4. I am a little bit OCD. Not about cleaning but about stacks of paper, magazines and washing up. They can sit there in a pile, as long as the edges are straight and the pile is even (ie plates of ascending size etc).
  5. Regarding my impending Inca experience, I am more concerned about sharing a tent with my mum than thoughts of camping, hiking or peeing in the woods.
  6. Chesney Hawkes signed my left breast. It was Freshers' Week, there was a queue, I was wearing a boob tube and I had no idea who he was. My friends, however, were REALLY impressed.
  7. I have somehow evolved into having excellent makeup skills and a concertina professional makeup box to house my propensity to accumulate MAC eyeshadows. However, I am dreadful at styling anyone else's hair. On my brother's wedding day, I had to wash out my disasters on my mum's hair twice until my sister finally got in the game and rescued the day.

If anyone can find any rhyme or reason to the above, I'd be grateful. I now tag Maryam, KenzieKate, Erin, Amy, Anna and Flibbertygibbet!

Looking forward to more revelations...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Loving my Boy

After three years as a student, three years as a costume girl, two years as a legal secretary, one year as a PA, one year as a student and varying degrees of great expense, I can now confirm that I have a job.

I have been offered a job in an area that interests me, with a reasonably good salary, with great potential for learning, exposure to incredibly influential people, within a twenty minute commute on my bike, with views of the river Thames, a Konditor and Cook cafe (with discount) and a GREAT SHOP.

The downside is that I will yet again be a PA but I will also be a Marketing Assistant, which is very exciting. I don't think I would have this potential step onto the ladder within my grasp ever again so I have decided to clutch at it with sweaty fists while it's there.

My Boy, on the other hand, is going through fifteen stages of trauma in the wake of evil politics and policy changes. We went from uncertainty about my future and absolute certainty (with a flexible geographical location) for his, and have turned 360 degrees.

It's exhausting, upsetting and completely destabilising.

However, he has continued to be incredibly supportive, encouraging, thoughtful, thought-provoking (when I couldn't decide between three different job offers - how obnoxious am I?) and positive. I just don't know what I would do without him, and he hasn't stopped saying how proud he is of me since we decided this morning.

I love my Boy for so many reasons, many of them much less complex than I would like to maintain, but absolutely his unswerving belief that I will be fine and we will be even better than fine has stopped me having multiple nervous breakdowns over the last two years.

Check out the lyrics of the 'chorus' of this little ditty, and weep.

He sent them to me when he was on placement in Ghana two years ago and I was going through costume job traumas. I started crying for wholly different reasons.

Aren't I a lucky girl?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Monsoon season

Monsoon's website was historically pretty lame. The information took up about the top third of the screen and the images were always tiny. Oh, and you couldn't actually get your hands on a single item.

All this has changed. And even all the hard-to-locate stores with Homeware and Menswear have been transcribed online.

I'm a happy bunny. Lots of 'handpainted' and I'm never sure, with them, how much of it is eco-aware and how much is overpriced not-made-in-a-very-nice-way fashionable tat.

For now, I'll just look and lust...

Handpainted Flower CoastersRed Painted Coloured GlassHand Painted Canister

Handpainted mother of pearl coasters (£18)

Red handpainted glass (for shots, cocktails, candles or flowers?) (£8

Hand Painted Ceramic Canister (£15)

And the crowing glory of the Monsoon Fusion Rangee?

Black embroiderie anglais Adana Dress (£38). I would sell my mother for this dress in white.

Adana Broidery Dress

Probably just as well, Mum, that it's not an option!!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Lime & Blueberry Cake

Inspired by the scrumptious offerings at Badger Tea Rooms, I squeezed me some limes and got out my ring tin and this happened.

Needless to say, it didn't last more than three days. The Boy is feeling a little bit sick of late...

Will definitely make this again.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Body Conscious: How to Dress to your Shape

It’s happened to all of us. You fall in love with a picture in a pattern book or magazine, rush out to buy the pattern, find the perfect fabric, make the garment, then absolutely hate the way it looks when you put it on. Most of us accept this as one of the pitfalls of sewing. After all, you can’t exactly tell how a particular style is going to look on your body before you start to sew. Or can you? Learn how to identify your figure type and choose styles that flatter it and you can leave these fashion blunders behind.

The first step is to determine your figure type. Most body shapes fall into four basic profiles: hourglass, triangle, inverted triangle, and rectangle. To determine which category you fall into, stand in front of a full-length mirror (wearing undergarments or a leotard) and take an objective look at your proportions. Focus your attention on the differences or similarities in the size of your shoulders, bust, waist and hips. Do you have wide hips and a small upper body? Are your shoulders broad in comparison to your hips? Do you have little or no waist definition? Determine whether or not your body proportions are narrow, average or wide and record your answers in the chart below. If you find this difficult, ask a friend to provide an objective assessment.

Flatter Yourself
Once you’ve determined your figure type it’s a simple matter to choose clothes that accentuate your best features and minimize the drawbacks. Vogue Patterns makes this easy by including a Figure Flattery Key (left) on every pattern catalog page and envelope. (You’ll also find them in the “Guide to Backviews and Fabric Requirements” in every issue of Vogue Patterns magazine.) To see if the style will be flattering check to see if the symbol for your figure type (rectangle, hourglass, triangle, inverted triangle) is in the bar. Then follow these tips to make the most of what you’ve got!


Boxy figures with little difference in bust, waist and hip measurements fall into this category. Rectangles have balanced shoulders and hips, but lack curves to define the waistline. This figure type is not necessarily overweight. Rectangles can be thin or have a trim athletic build, but their figures have a “straight-up-and-down” appearance rather than a curvy hourglass shape.
Your Goal: Create the illusion of curves and waist shaping.
•Use button plackets and neckline details to draw the eye upward.
•Choose body-skiming styles with minimum shaping.
•Layer vests over tops that fall below the waistline.
•Place pockets or other pattern details at the hips or bust.
•Wear flared skirts and bias cuts.
•Pair short skirts with long tops.
•Use pleats and gathers to widen the hips. This will make the waist appear smaller.
•Place blocks of color or pattern at the waistline.
•Choose styles with belts, waist shaping or peplums.
•Wear wide or boxy styles.
•Use large patch pockets.
•Allow top and jacket hemlines to fall at the waistline; keep them above or below.



This “ideal” shape (which few of us have) is balanced from top to bottom with a trim waist in relation to shoulders, bust and hips. The bust and hips are about equal in measurement and the waist is about 10" (25cm) smaller than the hips and bust. Keep in mind that this figure type isn’t necessarily a model-size 6. Hourglasses can be full-figured and curvy as long as body measurements are in proportion to one another.

Your Goal: Make the most of your curves without overemphasizing them.
•Use contrasting colors, pattern details, and interesting necklines to show off your proportions.
•Elongate the figure with vertical lines.
•Keep upper and lower details of garments balanced.
•Choose slim pants and straight skirts.
•Pair close-fitting tops with full skirts.
•Wear boxy, bulky clothes that hide your shape.
•Overwhelm a petite frame (under 5'4") with big prints, oversized tops, or too-long pants and skirts.
•Choose Empire styles if you have a large bust—they’ll look tent-like.



Most of us fall into this category (also known as pear-shaped). Triangles are bottom-heavy with a small bust and narrow shoulders in relation to their lower body. Hip measurements are significantly larger than bust and shoulders.
Your Goal: Minimize the hips and thighs and create fullness above the waistline.
•Add details such as appliqué, embroidery or textured stitch patterns to the upper body of your garments.
•Use wide collars and necklines (boatnecks are great!) or shoulder yokes to draw attention upward.
•Keep top hemlines well above or below the widest area
of the hips; skirts just above the knee or longer.
•Camouflage heavy hips and thighs with dark colors.
•Avoid pleats, gathers, and in-seam pockets (they’ll gape).
•Hem tops and shirts to hit directly on the hips.
•Choose raglan sleeves or halter styles that drag the eye downward, emphasizing your lower half.
•Place patch pockets, bulky side seams, or tight banding at the hips: instead, use them on top to balance your shape.
•Wear short skirts—they’ll widen your rear view.


Broad shoulders, a full bust, and heavy upper arms characterize this figure. Inverted triangles tend to be top-heavy with wide shoulders and/or a large bust in relation to the lower body. They can be curvy and voluptuous on top or athletic in build.
Your Goal: Minimize the bust and shoulders and emphasize the hips.
•Add details such as pockets, patterning, and textural fabrics to the lower half of garments to balance out your appearance.
•Choose styles with drop waists, peplums, and pockets.
•Use raglan sleeves and V-necklines to draw the eye downward.
•Balance out your figure with full skirts.
•Draw attention down and away from bust and shoulders with border prints.
•Use yokes or pattern details that call attention to the shoulders or bust.
•Place pockets on bodice—they’ll make your upper half appear wider.
•Add details such as ruffles to necklines—instead, keep them simple.
•Layer pieces—it adds bulk where you don’t need it.
•Choose styles with wide lapels or shoulder details.
•Wear Capri pants, miniskirts, and narrow silhouettes—they’ll make you look more top heavy.


The eye is immediately drawn to the hemline, so choose your garment length carefully.
•Keep skirt and shorts hemlines above or below the widest part of your leg.
•Long skirts create a slimming vertical line, but a too-long hemline will overwhelm a petite frame.
•Capri and pedal-pusher pant lengths can make a full-busted figure appear top heavy.
Choose the length of tops and shirts with just as much care:
•A hemline that hits at the fullest part of your hips will make you look wider.
•A hemline that falls below the hip will elongate the body creating an illusion of slimness. Just keep it in proportion to your height—a too-long tunic can overwhelm a petite frame.
•Cropped tops will make your upper body appear wider and draw attention to the waistline.

It's all in the Details

The style and placement of design details such as, pockets, necklines, collars, and sleeves can make or break the figure flattery of a garment.


Pockets (especially patch styles) create width and need to be carefully placed. Keep them away from a full bust or large hips.


Low necklines, V-necks, and shawl collars slim and lengthen, drawing the eye downward—a plus for broad shoulders, but a hindrance if you are trying to draw attention away from a large bust.
Turtlenecks, high necklines, and rolled collars carry the eye upward, shortening the neck and causing the shoulders to appear wider. They can also make a broad upper body seem boxy.
Square and scoop necklines draw attention to the shoulders, while elongating the neck.


Full sleeves camouflage too-heavy or too-thin arms. They also add width to the overall silhouette.
Slim sleeves narrow the garment’s overall shape for a thinner appearance. Just be sure they’re not too tight on heavy arms.
Raglan and kimono sleeves draw the eye down to the lower body, diverting attention away from the shoulders and bust.
Puffed sleeves disguise sloping shoulders and make shoulders appear broader.
Bell sleeves add width to the lower body, making the top half appear slimmer. They also draw attention to the hips.
Three-quarter sleeves create a lean, elegant line, but highlight
the upper arm—something best avoided if arms are heavy.
Fingertip-length sleeves add length and width to a silhouette.
Use sleeve length to your advantage—make arms appear slimmer by keeping the bottom edge of short sleeves above or below the widest part of your arms, and shorten long arms with sleeves that end just above the wrist.



Full, or loose-fitting, silhouettes such as roomy tunics, shift dresses and palazzo pants cover up less than perfect features. They also add width, so choose with care.
Slim, or close-fitting, silhouettes such as shaped jackets, body-defining tops, and slim pants and skirts lengthen the body, creating the illusion of slimness. Just keep in mind that close fitting does not mean tight!
A-line silhouettes camouflage the hips and waistline, counterbalancing a full bustline or wide shoulders.
High-waistline silhouettes, such as Empire styles, draw atttention up and away from the hips and thighs, however, they do not flatter large-busted figures.
Low-waistline silhouettes, such as peplum jackets and drop-waist dresses, can help
balance out a top-heavy figure by adding width to the hips.


Thick torso: Untuck your shirt and leave the last few buttons undone to lengthen and slenderize the upper body.
Pot belly: Choose flat-front pants over pleats for a slimmer appearance.
Large bust: Minimize by choosing tailored shirts (instead of oversized tops) and tuck them in.
No curves: Feminize a boyish figure with bias cuts and diagonal patterns.
Short legs: Slim-fitting pants, and dresses and skirts that hit just above the knee give the illusion of longer legs.
Heavy thighs: Boot-leg cuts and pants with a slight flare will make thighs appear thinner, but skip the bell bottoms if you’re petite.


•If you’ve got great legs show them off in short skirts.
•Baggy clothes and floor-dragging dusters make you look like you’re trying to hide something.
•Slenderize with tastefully-tailored or body-skimming (not tight!) styles.
•Flaunt a trim waist with belted styles or cropped tops that hit just above the waistline.
•Showcase shapely shoulders in strapless tops or portrait collars.

With thanks to Vogue Pattern Magazine

The Euro Spread

Photo courtesy of my sis x

Monday, May 14, 2007


Not officially launching it until the beginning of June, but a sneaky peek for dedicated Beholden readers...

Check out my new blog!!

The layout and design is a work in progress, so I would welcome any comments on the colours and layout. Is the white too bright? Is the pink ok against the background? Let me know what you think and pass on my link to any unsuspecting brides or interested folk you know!x

Cast your Votes to Increase my Shoe Wardrobe

Classic Collection Pure Leather Woven Strap Sandals

What do we think? Geek chic? Granny chic? Or so cute to wear with pale green summer frock to a Sunday picnic?

£29.50 from M&S

Eurovision goes with a swing and a cupcake

My parties seldom conclude without some form of baked goods being produced on a cakestand. What can I say? I have a disease.

Orange Broadband was playing up all day and thank goodness I was able to access the fabulous official eurovision site for a moment to download the semi-final winners. The cocktail stick-flags were suitably painted and became the means by which countries were dolled out to guests. The flag-waving began.

Having just come off a week of nights and spent the day stoically burning meat in the garden in the rain, the Boy required a catnap during voting. Obviously the back of the sofa was the ideal place.


The night went fantastically well with staggering levels of enthusiasm and concentration given to most songs. The three trigger items I chose this year were bare chests, leather and fire. The latter was by far the most toxic and responsible for at least one headache this morning.

All eyes were on the Ukraine, which was sadly cheated of its great potential. Do look them up... Einz, zwei, drei, TANZEN!!

Oh, and as promised, two of my booting purchases, both of which received their first outing this weekend:


Thursday, May 10, 2007

An hour well spent

In preparation for Eurovision amazingness at my place on Saturday night, I have been hard at work.

Subtle as a sledgehammer, I think, which is about the same as the lyrics to our entry this year.

Watch out on Gorgeously for my top ten Eurovision Party tips!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Bells, The Bells

After Alfriston, a visit to Charleston Farmhouse, home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, bohemian members of the Bloomsbury Set and friends of EM Forster, Virginia Woolf (Vanessa's sister) and other influential minds.

The building was undoubtedly beautiful and the rooms were unlike anything I'd ever seen before. The owners painted or embellished pretty much every available surface, with the energy and miscellany of the daubs evident in every irregular stroke. There was a fabulous door into a dressing room still bearing the pencil outline of a vase of flowers, hastily painted in.

Charleston PhotoCharleston PhotoCharleston PhotoCharleston Photo

The building now works as a gallery and arts support network, continuing the nurturing existence of its original owners and I wholeheartedly encourage any such artistic subsidy.

I object, however, to an entrance fee of £7.00, with the student discounted rate of £3.50 only available on Thursdays (?!) with guides in every room offering to tell you 'anything you wish to know'. There was no introduction, information or printed context of the house or its occupants, so I knew not what questions to ask or what interest to have. I came away in love with the contrasting and slapdash textiles, sorely wanting to create more tapestry cushions, and feeling utterly cheated of £7.00.

What a shame, but what a beauty. I would recommend it, certainly, but take a hefty wallet and do some homework first!!

Sexy Summer Dresses

Gorgeous candy pastels for parties, barbeques and weddings from Lily Pulitzer's Social Butterfly Spring and Summer 2007 collections.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Oh for a Village of my own

Car booting yesterday. Will post my haul up shortly. In the meantime, I'd like you to sit back, relax, jump in my horse and carriage and we'll take a litle trip into the countryside. We're going south of London, towards Brighton, but not following the hoards. We're slowing down about ten miles north of Eastbourne, the road bends and suddenly narrows, and the terraced houses rise high on either side.

Then, the little shop signs... Badger Tea Rooms, Not Just Chocolate Tourist Information, Tricorn Hats for Ladies' Millinery. The road widens at a corner shop brimful of locally produced jams and curds, with boxes of eggs piled up outside. Narrowing again, we find the diverting Much Ado Books,Bat's Wing Apothecaryy, a Gallery, a mosaic workshop called The Greenhouse Effect.

If you were to go blindly on, the peaceful yet imposing Wingrove House Hotel and Restaurant would bid you farewell into the Sussex countryside beyond, but turn left down a grass covered lane and St Andrews Church, the Tye (village green) and the Clergy House (now a National Trust home) would miss you dearly.

With five teashops and the 'Best Independent Bookshop in the UK', this little gem is for exploring, leisurely, over pub lunches, milehigh teacakes and mismatched crockery.

Truly, this is England. This is forever England.

And what a find on a grey, misty and forbidding Bank Holiday Monday.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Clever Abigail Percy

Bringing class to the much chavved up hoop earring...

Loving your work, my dear x

Sunday, May 06, 2007

My New Job

As ever, my days involve floating like so much flotsam and jetsam from desk to office to workplace, hoping that one of them will be so kind as to give me long term employment. That I want.

No such luck as yet.

However, my new job at Hidden has afforded me hours of time 'working' researching present and new designer makers in the London area. My fingers positively dance around the internet, drooling over many a talented young thing's creations.

Current favourites include...

Ella Doran, and in particular this Vintage Plate Tray (£15)

Hannah Louise Lamb's scroll earrings (£72)

Oxi Scroll Earrings

Jane Claire's Cushions (£64.95)

In my defence, a tray was actually on my list of Things I Need and at the moment, it's also on the list of Things I Can Afford.

So this weekend, I shall get me to Cheshire Street.

Testing.... testing

The beautiful MS Livewriter and Blogger are now friends...

Thanks to the ongoing brilliance of the Boy.

Really, what's not to love?

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Roses and Lemons

I'm not sure what makes me more happy...
The tin, snapped up for two whole english pounds last weekend

Or the appeallingly easy and delightfully pert lemon butterfly cakes that are now nestling inside...

Spoke too soon

Issues with uploading photos...

The Boy's on nights... If anyone can tell me in words of one syllable how to configure image upload settings for ftp, I'd be really grateful...

Paola - where's Ian - I want my faith in Microsoft reinstated!!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Good Lord and Livewriter

Well, blow me down with a feather. Sometime Microsoft is just a little too good for its own boots. Having a play online to try to see if anyone else had compatibility issues between Blogger and Livewriter and I come across the Microsoft Blog with a free clickable upgrade.

And here I am, no more than five minutes later, happily typing away without headache and unhappiness...not to mention jumping paragraph dividers.

Blogging heaven on a stick.

Good lord and little fishes. Sometimes it's just too easy. x